The Health Tests we do on our dogs is to ensure that each puppy that leaves our program is the healthiest Miniature American Shepherd possible. This is not something we take lightly. All health tests available upon request.
Some of the tools good breeders have at their disposal include the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for hips and elbow), CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) for eyes, and MDR1 (Multi-Drug Reactivity Test), DM (Degenerative Myelophathy), PRA-PRCD (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) and HC (Hereditary Cataracts). Now lets get into the details of each of these tests.
CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation)
Since various eye problems are common in all breeds we feel that our breeding dogs be tested annually by a board certified canine opthamologist which the experts in the field feel very strongly about also. Ideally pups should have their first eye exam done before 8 weeks of age as the opthamologist can sometimes see things at that age that they will not likely see again for a few years. The reason the test is done annually is that like in people, eyes can change over time. At the time of testing the opthamologist will complete a form showing the results. You can see each of our dogs CERF results on their individual pages.
OFS (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals)
Again with OFA testing we feel very strongly that this is a test that must be performed on all our breeding dogs. We will have a preliminary X-ray done at just over a year of age to see how the dogs hips are developing. At the age of 2 years we take the dog to a qualified veterinarian and an x-ray is taken of the hips and/or elbows. The x-rays are then sent to the OFA board to have them evaluated. There will be 3 expert vets look at the x-rays and they will all independently give their opinions. The lowest of the 3 ratings is what the dog is given. While this does not show if a dog may carry the genes to produce hip proglems it shows the itself has normal hip structure. By doing this test we can lower the chances of a pup may inherit hip or elbow defects.
MDR1 (Multi-Drug Reactivity Test)
This test will always be part of our breeding program. It is so important for the health of your new pup. It ensures that you will never have to worry about any drugs that may have to be given to your dog. The MDR1 test will check on a genetic level if a dog is a carrier, double carrier or non carrier. This is a one time test that is very accurate, it shows exactly the geotype of each dog. The results are sent back in certificate form. All results can be seen on each of our dogs individual pages.
PRA-PRCD (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)
This is another tests that will help with the health of the eyes of the dog. PRA refers to a group of diseases that cause the retina of the eye to degenerate slowly over time. The result is declining vision and eventually blindness. PRCD stands for Progressive Rod-cone degeneration which is the type of PRA known in several breeds. A swab is taken from the dog and the DNA is submitted. This is a one type test and the results are sent back in certificate form from the lab. All results can be found on each of our dogs indivisual pages.
DM (Degenerative Myelopathy)
This tests is done to again ensure that pups have the best chance of not contracting this desease. This is an incurable, progressive desease of the canine spinal cord. It is very rare in Miniature American Shepherds and Miniature Australian Shepherds but we feel it is a test that must be performed in the slight chance it could end up in our lines. A swab is taken from the dog and the DNA sample is sent to the lab for testing. The results are then sent back with the results in the form of a certificate. All test results can be seen on our dogs individual pages.
HC (Hereditary Cataract)
HC are an inherited form of cateracts, the most common cause of blindness in dogs. Essentially it occurs when the clear lens of the eye becomes opaque or white. This interferes with the dogs vision and puts major strain on the eye resulting in blindness.
TEST RESULTS (How to read them)
Normal/Normal (N/N or Clear): The dog does not have the mutation and is extremely unlikely to develop D/M OR PRA.
Normal/Abnormal (N/A or Carrier): The dog has one mutated copy of the gene and is a carrier but will not have/develop D/M OR PRA. This dog MUST be bred to a N/N or clear dog so the puppy's will not become at risk for D/M OR PRA.
Abnormal/Abnormal (A/A or At Risk): The dog has two copies for the mutation and is at risk for developing D/M OR PRA.